Just say the word

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So Jesus went with them. But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, “Lord don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.” — Luke 7:1-10

After just telling some of our youngest grandchildren not to lean against the window screen, I heard a “clunk” followed by some crying.

Yep, it was the screen.

It was on the deck near the two little faces who couldn’t make themselves obey Grandpa’s instructions.

It seems no one has to teach us to have an authority problem. It comes quite naturally.

Interestingly, the Roman centurion in our story today had grown out of his authority problem.

He got it.

There were order givers and order takers.

He even had the discernment to recognize that he needed to be able to be either one depending on who was talking.

With his servant dying, he knew the only hope would be to entreat a much greater authority.

To the amazement of Jesus, the centurion confessed his faith in him.

Jesus gave the word and the servant was healed.

For most of us, we are our own worst enemies.

We think we know more than we really do.

We believe our wisdom surpasses everyone else in the room.

We’re proud and not teachable.

We dislike and distrust people in authority unless, of course, we are the ones in authority.

This story calls us to a place of humility when it comes to authority.

First, be still and know that he is God.

Second, with God’s help, respond very humbly to human authority while using yours to serve others.

Why God?

Look at these wicked people – enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? I get nothing but trouble all day; every morning brings me pain. — Psalm 73:1-28

There I was, once again, facing questions from a family member whose loved one had just passed away.

“There are so many wicked people in this world, why didn’t they get this disease and die?”

Later, during their loved one’s service, it was a joy to share with all the family that their beloved family wasn’t dead.

Nope, not even close.

Heaven isn’t the place of the dead.

It’s the place of the living.

It seems so unfair, doesn’t it?

Good people suffering.

Wicked people thriving.

That’s what Asaph, the writer of the above Psalm thought, too.

He was looking around and watching those who dismissed and disrespected God living the high life.

No cares in the world.

He, then, looked at his life plagued with frustration and disappointment.

What’s the point of pursuing God?

He took his frustration to God.

There, he discovered there’s so much more happening than meets the eye.

Let’s be honest. We all have our questions.

In the deep emotions of disappointment, grief and woundedness, we all scratch our heads and say, “Why God?”

How are we to make sense of it all?

Asaph discovered as we do, “What a difficult task it is!”

He didn’t stop asking his questions, though.

He decided to take them to God.

There, in God’s presence, he was given an eternal perspective.

There, he was reminded that God was the strength of his heart now and forever.

Tom Wiles is senior minister of Fall Creek Christian Church in Pendleton. He can be reached at 765-778-3166.